KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the
Matheny spent parts of seven seasons managing the St. Louis Cardinals, finishing each with a winning record and winning the National League pennant in 2013. But after his firing midway through 2018, he was hired by the Royals in an advisory role, and then tapped to succeed longtime manager Ned Yost when he retired before the 2020 season.
Put in charge of a rebuild in the works, Matheny went 26-34 during a COVID-19-shortened first season, then appeared to show progress last season, when the Royals ushered forward a slew of young prospects and finished 74-88.
The expectation was another step forward this season, but the Royals instead spent September fighting off 100 losses.
Matheny finished 165-219 during his time with the Royals, though the number that perhaps is more important to the future of the club is 29 — the number of players who made their major league debut during his tenure.
“We are grateful to Mike for leading us through some unusual times these last three seasons,” Picollo said in a statement. “He met those challenges head on and helped us move forward in a positive manner. We thank him for his leadership and know his influence will have a positive impact moving forward.”
Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.
Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.
Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa left the team on Aug. 30 for medical tests and said Monday he will not return for 2023.
In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.
While he was well-liked in the Kansas City clubhouse, it seemed unlikely Matheny would be granted another season when Moore was fired last month. Sherman indicated at the time the change in the leadership of the baseball operations department was only the start of what was expected to be widespread shifts throughout the organization.
The Royals have struggled for years to develop pitching — they had the fourth-worst ERA and the worst WHIP by far of any staff in the majors this season. And the continued struggles by their latest wave of young arms was a big reason for letting go of Eldred, the pitching coach since 2018.
“The bottom line here is it’s time for change,” Sherman said last month. “There is a gap right now between where we are and where we expected to be. … I felt like in 2021 we did make progress, and in 2022, that’s not how I feel. There have been some bright spots — I love seeing the young players — but in 2022, we are not where we expected to be.”